Last Saturday, the City of Glen Cove honored its 100th anniversary with a re-enactment of its first mayoral inauguration at the Glen Cove Historical Society. Two days later, new Mayor Timothy Tenke and members of the City Council were sworn in at City Hall, before a standing-room-only crowd.
Should visitors refer to Glen Cove as a town, they are almost certain to receive a peremptory correction. Intoned almost as a medieval formula, they will be told, “We’re neither hamlet nor town nor village: We are a city.” The mental underlining is almost audible.
The re-enactment was held in the city’s old courthouse, which is now the North Shore Historical Museum. At the time of the original celebration, the building also served as the police station and the jail. Standing in for Glen Cove’s first Mayor, James E. Burns, was Mayor-elect Tenke. He was joined by council members-elect Joseph Capobianco, Nicholas A. DiLeo Jr., Kevin P. Maccarone, Pamela D. Panzenbeck and Michael Zangari. Due to prior commitments in Washington, D.C., Councilwoman-elect Marsha F. Silverman was unable to attend.
The event was more a commemoration than a re-enactment, with none of the officials in period costumes and no women picketing for the vote. In 1917, picketers would have been a near certainty, as women were still three years away from winning the franchise. In November’s election, two women won council seats, and the deputy mayor is a woman, too.
Examination of some of the artifacts uncovered more subtle differences between past and present officialdom. A careful leafing through a fragile copy of the 1917 “Charter of the City of Glen Cove” revealed that elected officials of the day were constrained from spending more of the city’s money than it actually had. Moreover, the city’s founding fathers felt that $2,000 was a reasonable cap on expenditures for the year, barring exceptional circumstances.
After re-enacting the swearing-in behind the judges’ bench, the mayor- and council-elect moved to an end table to sign the oath book. History Committee Chairwoman Anne Fitzgibbon explained that it was at that point that members were officially “sworn,” and their terms began. The inauguration two days later was mostly symbolic, she said.
Inauguration Day kicks off 2018
The event on the afternoon of New Year’s Day opened with a drum tattoo courtesy of members of the Nassau County Firefighters Pipes and Drums, led by Pipe Major Tom Moran. They were followed by a ceremonial color guard, commanded by Maj. F.R. Nielsen, USMC (Ret.), and Sgt. at Arms Willibe Wilson Jr. Color detachments included Glen Cove’s Police Department, volunteer Fire Department and EMS, as well as members of various American Legion and V.F.W. posts.
Following the processional and the Pledge of Allegiance, Arden Sanders D’Aleva gave a heartfelt and haunting rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Rabbi Irwin Huberman, of Congregation Tifereth Israel, then gave the invocation, after which the mayor and council members were publicly sworn by justices of their choosing. Glen Cove’s poet laureate, Victoria Crosby, read her encomium to the occasion, entitled “Glen Cove Unity.”
In his inaugural address, Tenke thanked his predecessor, Reginald Spinello, both for his service to the city and for managing a smooth transition. Tenke spoke of the time represented by Saturday’s re-enactment, when Glen Cove was a major hub of manufacturing and business, and of his desire to recapture that energy and spirit. Among the goals he set for his administration was the challenge “to see just how ‘green’ we can go.” He asked for more bike and foot paths, and said he would like to see Crescent Beach reopened this year. He would be working with the state Department of Environmental Conservation to this end, he added. Finally, he spoke of the need for bipartisan cooperation — essential in an election that was decided by such a small margin and in a city where the mayor leads a minority administration.
After the address, which was warmly received, the Rev. Dr. Craig Wright Sr., of Calvary AME Church, gave the benediction. Alondra Schuck sang “God Bless America,” and the afternoon’s master of ceremonies, the Rev. Roger Williams, of Glen Cove’s First Baptist Church, thanked various dignitaries and brought the proceedings to a close.